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Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop

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Palomar Mountain State Park

Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Palomar Mountain, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 8.7 mi Elevation gain 1,519 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wildlife

Over grown

Fee

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

$10 parking fee. Note: Dogs are NOT allowed on the trails, but are allowed anywhere else. The trail is uphill until you reach Boucher Lookout Tower. It breaks at the tower which contains a picnic area, an observation deck, restroom and water. Boucher Trail picks up again on the other side of the lookout tower (trail marked) and heads downhill for quite a ways. Be warned that what goes down must eventually come up. The trail ends at Nate Harrison Grade Road. Across the road you'll see Adams Trail. An alternative to Nate Harrison Grade road would be to take Boucher Road from the lookout tower. This would cut out a significant part of Boucher trail but would mean less uphill walking on the way back.

Take 76 to S Grade Rd (S6), Turn left x2 onto State Park Rd (S7), follow it till it ends at Palomar Mountain State Park. Pay $8 fee at the Ranger station located at the gate, then park in the picnic area right past the Ranger station on the left. Walk down the road heading West, past the employee residence you'll see a split in the road and the trail head clearly marked.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (177)
Photos (762)
Recordings (138)
Completed (387)
Cameron Beeler
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Hiking

Clean. Nice scenery. Some of the park facilities were closed, so don't expect water accessibility Judy because there is a park facility there. Great trail.

William Tackett
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Hiking
View William 's Recording
Janna Huizar
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HikingGreat!

Amazing Beautiful hike. Absolutely stunning. We clocked in 10.2 miles. The all trails track does not appear accurate and I have no idea what trails I used. It was really confusing. I should’ve just stuck with a paper map. This is the most beautiful place to hike in San Diego in my opinion.

Chase Adame
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Hiking

This is a great hike that has some amazing scenery, and views. I would say about 75% of the hike is shaded, which is great for this time of year. There is quite a few bugs on the trail, but none that will bother you. Decent elevation climbs in the beginning, and end of the hike. Some parts of trail are a little confusing to navigate. This also ended up being around 9.7 mile hike, unlike what is listed. Think a few people got that on their recordings if you complete the whole thing.

View Chase's Recording
Anne Chen
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HikingBugsFeeOff trailOver grown

A lot of bugs. Some parts of the trail are overgrown. There’re restrooms along the trail. Mostly shaded.

View Anne's Recording
Matt Luongo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
HikingBugsFeeGreat!

I parked at the picnic area and hiked up to Boucher and continued the loop, so clockwise as opposed to counterclockwise. Good vistas at Boucher and nice shaded walk throughout the rest of the hike. The incense cedars and sugar pines were some of the biggest I've ever seen and made for a really pleasant afternoon. Bugs weren't too bad except near water and even then they don't bite.

Kyle Walker
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HikingBugs

I got off to a late start and hiked the 9.75 mile loop. There is a lot of shade on the trails but with the sun directly overhead you will still get hit on your climb back up so plan accordingly. This is an interesting hike because you basically climb the mountain in reverse with the first half mostly downhill or flat and the second half climbing back up so make sure to check yourself because there are several shorter routes available if you feel fatigued prior to the climb. The bugs are definitely there and will be with you the entire hike. They do not bite but they are going to buzz your head. I hiked faster or ran most of the downhill stretch and the bugs did not bother me even without bug spray on, if you stop though chances are the bugs will be much more of a nuisance. The hike is beautiful and great for a conditioning hike to put some miles on your legs without too steep of inclines or severe elevation gains. I did lose gps signal in a few locations so download your maps prior to getting up the mountain. Oh one last thing; yes it is $10 to park and it is EXACT change without the ability to break larger bills. I ended up paying $20 for today’s hike because once you are up the mountain you are 20 minutes away from the nearest gas station.

View Kyle's Recording
Erica Salcuni
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HikingBugs

Great trail but I’ll return after the summer. The bugs were insane.

Haley Frank
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HikingBugsFee

Great hike, we did a shortened version of this that ended up being a little over 6 miles. Tons of elevation kicked our butts but mostly shaded and great views/scenery. Bugs are out of control, don’t forget bug spray we were consistently reapplying! (Only knocked a star off for the bugs).

View Haley's Recording
Jas Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingBugs

Steep uphill inclines in some parts, an overabundance of bugs, but gorgeous overall. It seems like three hikes in one because of the change in terrain and landscape you experience (lots of shade). Not many mountaintop "peak" views but lots of foliage and even a pond to enjoy.

Katherine Hurley
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HikingBugsFeeOver grown

wow- so although there is a $10 entree fee and there is ample amount of bugs and poison oak on the trails- the hike itself is beautiful! the most beautiful hike for me to date- valleys of ferns, giant dandelions, wild flowers, wild blackberry and strawberries, ponds, etc! The bugs are more prominent by the creek areas and less by the meadows. We used bug spray and mask and glasses and seemed fine. Great hike!

Mike Nava
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Great hike awesome view still alot of bugs even with bug spray but good all n all

Lauren W.
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HikingBugsFeeOver grown
View Lauren's Recording
Derek Vanstone
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HikingBugs

The trail is beautiful and peaceful but the bugs right now are pretty bad even with bug spray. Cut our hike in half because of it.

Conrad Gerger
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Hiking

Hiked this trail a week ago. I had never been to this mountain before. It’s awesome. Very unique with many types of trees, pines and ferns all over. Need to make it up a bit earlier next year and catch it when it’s even greener. The trails seem to be a bit confusing and not well marked. But that makes it kinda fun! Easy way to get more miles in. The pond was a super cool spot. Friendly people on the trails and a cool drive up the mountain to the trailheads.

W M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 17, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

I lost my Maui Jim sunglasses here on 6/17 if anyone finds them. Scenery was beautiful esp from viewpoints. Bugs were not great (mid-June) and we cut out about 2 mi of our planned 9mi hike because of this. We arrived at 10 am and parked at the Boucher lookout tower and we were above a thick blanket of clouds which was awesome. Some shade throughout our route which was nice.

Lisa Haas
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HikingFee

What an amazing day! We got to the Boucher Trail Lookout at about 8:30, and took a leisurely hike down to the pond and back around. 7.3 mile loop. The weather was perfect at around 65°. There were some mosquitoes around the pond and near the small streams, but not horrible. The trails are nearly completely covered. The foliage is just gorgeous so take your time to look around.

Laura Marquez
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HikingBugsRockyScramble
View Laura's Recording
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